mr. nelson: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from florida. mr. nelson: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that the quorum call be lifted. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. nelson: mr. president, the hour is nyi and now washington is awash in the rumor that there might be some progress being made. i hope so. if there was anything that was made clear to this senator in the reelection in one of our biggest states in the union, it was that the people want us to come together and to stop this
bickering, the ideological rigidity that we've seen, excessive amounts of -- and the excessive partisanship. and that is a huge, huge turno turnoff, because i think logical rigidity and excessive partisanship are impediments to getting people to come together with commonsense decisions for solutions. mr. president, obviously, there's an easy way, and hopefully that is what is being tweaked at the moment in a final solution with the president to speak in about 30 minutes. i hope so. mr. president, i'm going to leave you with this thought:
my colleagues know that a little over a quarter century ago i had the privilege of seeing our home planet when the perspective of looking through the window of a spacecraft back at our planet. it was the 24th flight of the space shuttle. it was early in the space shuttle program. mr. president, it is indelibly etched in my mind's eye, as i looked back at earth what i saw. i did not see political divisions. i did not see religious divisions. i did not see ethnic divisions. what i saw is that we were all in this together.
all a part of planet earth. and if we could remember that in our politics, we'd all get along so much better. i hope what stays with me indelibly etched in my mind's eye is what's ultimately going to prevail in this momentous decision of avoiding the fiscal cliff. mr. president, i yield the floor and i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
year. you can share your thoughts with us today, we have a poll up on our c-span facebook page. let us know what message you want to send to washington either forge a compromise or go over the cliff. and you can find that poll at facebook.com/c-span. we've been taking a look on and off about what democrats had to say earlier today about the fiscal cliff. let's turn now to the republicans, we're going to begin with senator john thune. >> in dealing with what has become probably the biggest fiscal crisis that our country has dealt with in some time. and i've heard a number of my colleagues on the other side come down and talk about the importance of getting a solution. we all want to get a solution. you don't want to have a situation tomorrow where tax rates go up on everybody across this country that has income tax
a senator: madam president, i ask unanimous consent that the quorum call be lifted. the presiding officer: without objection. mrs. hutchison: madam president, there is a lot of buzzing going on around the capitol today. here we are new year's eve and so many of us have hoped that we would have an agreement that would be really a big agreement, a long-term agreement that we would like to have had finished maybe by september, certainly by october, but that was not to be, and in fact as we saw in the elections of this year, our country is divided and our house here is divided as well. so it has been hard to come to
terms. you know, it's been said that democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the rest, because when you have opinions, when you have free speech, when you have elections that will put a democratic majority in the senate and a republican majority in the house, you know that it is not going to be a clear and precise path. but in the end, it is the best because we do have all of the opinions and everyone has been hurt. we have had countless meetings in the last few weeks trying to see where people could give and where they could win, and i have said from the beginning that i'm optimistic because i do think that our democracy will work.
and from what i am hearing from the different leaders, we are close to an agreement. we are not there, but it is a starting point and certainly a point at which there is some agreement. now, it may not seem like it should be so hard, but once you do have the framework of an agreement, there are a lot of clearances that have to be made. you have to talk to senate democrats and senate republicans. then you have to go to the house and talk to republicans and democrats. and i think one thing that is clear is there has to be a substantial number of votes on both sides of the aisle and both sides of the rotunda. we will not pass something with all democratic votes or all republican votes because it will not pass in the other house. so there is a lot of, i think,
refining of what is a pretty good agreement in the making, but the refining has not been finished. i do have the abiding hope that we will get there. since this may possibly be my last day as a united states senator -- at least voting. up until january 2, i'm a united states senator, but actually being able to participate at this late day has given me some time to reflect, and i so appreciate some of the major communications and opportunities that i have had with the real people in my home state of texas and beyond. i think always of the times that
i have been able to meet with our troops in harm's way. in the early years when i was in the united states senate, our troops were in harm's way in bosnia where there were many conflicts. to get to visit with them and see what their concerns were and what was on their minds and then into iraq and then into afghanistan, and i have visited all of these places and had the chance to talk to our troops, and what you go away with when you have that opportunity is that america is in good hands with our younger generation. they have such great spirit. i went to the brooke army medical center hospital in san antonio and visited with a young man who lost both legs in an
i.e.d. explosion, and he had been able to get used to that for maybe two weeks, so it's reasonable to say that he had had the shock of his life. so i go into his room, and there is his wife and his little daughter who was about the same age as my daughter, sitting there with him, and he says to me senator, they won't let me go back, and that's where i want to be. and then his darling wife pipes up and says you know what? they took half of you, and they're not getting the other half. now, if that isn't a story for both of them to have such a spirit. i was so touched by that.
just in the last month or so, i was back in san antonio visiting the wonderful center that they have for the wounded warriors and their families. it's a recreation center, and it's a place where they can go and they can cook food and have family meetings, they can play games, they can have extensive learning capabilities with computer rooms. it's a wonderful center that they have put together, the people of san antonio. this was spearheaded by a wounded warrior who had been cooped up in a room and wanted to have some ability to get outside the room with his family and have some experiences even though he was still under treatment. he started raising money, and he raised the money from the community and from many other wounded warriors as well